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New Realtor Info Page

From the desk of Paul Ekstrom, Broker/Owner of Realty ONE Group Choice and Team Leader of The Paul Ekstrom Team

So you are thinking about becoming a Realtor. It is a very intriguing industry. Those on the outside see a world of showing multi-million dollar homes, working their own schedule, being their own boss.... And of course Unlimited Commission Income!

Coming from those of us on the inside, the reality of being a Realtor is quite different. The majority of homes we show and sell are closer to a 250K split level, our schedules are 24/7, and being your own boss isn't all its cracked up to be. And then the income. When you have a closing it is great, but the time gaps between closings can create many sleepless nights. 

So now that you are questioning why would you really want to look into a career in Real Estate, I want to talk to you about why you actually should. I always like to "shock" reality into anyone who asks me about getting into Real Estate with how hard it really is. The failure rate for new agents is very high in our industry. Alot of agents think that once they become licensed they simply turn on the "Open" sign and the phone starts ringing. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. To be a successful Realtor, lead generation is your most important daily responsibility. It is up to you to make the phone ring. Failure to do this is the #1 reason new agents leave the industry and go back to the work life they did prior to becoming licensed.  

Self motivation and discipline are the next most important daily responsibilities. In a normal W-2 type of employment we all know what time our day starts and ends, what our daily tasks and responsibilities are, how much our check will be for, what we have to do to "Move up the ladder" and so on. For some reason when alot of new agents start their Real Estate careers they forget to discipline themselves by following the same daily tasks and responsibilities they did as W-2 employees. Today I'm going to go golfing with my buddies, shopping with the girls, sleep in, clean the house, etc. If you did this in the W-2 world you have to take a vacation day or lose pay for that day. In the Real Estate world you can take a day off, it is just very important that you "make up" this day by working twice as hard the next day. 

So now that you have heard my Top 3 Reasons for failure by most agents, the question is: Are you Different"? If you get it and are 100% committed, this industry is for you. Will you commit yourself to:

  • Lead generate daily, This is your new #1 job description
  • Show up to work everyday to work
  • Do something everyday that makes you uncomfortable
  • Become a sponge and learn as much as you can
  • Follow the leaders and learn from them. Don't reinvent the wheel
  • Set goals and a plan for these goals and follow and track the plan
  • Brand yourself and practice your scripts on why you should be the Realtor of Choice
  • Pick the right Brokerage
If you follow Paul's 8 Commitments of Excellence, you will be one of the 20% of Realtors who bring in 80% of the commission income. Income potential is unlimited, you will leverage yourself to enjoy time away, you will enjoy owning your own company and being your own boss. You will make incomes doctors and lawyers dream about. You will probably not be always showing multi-million dollar homes, you will be living in one. 

So if you make these Commitments, here is how you get started:

1. FAQ on becoming a Realtor:

 Q1- What are the first steps in getting my Realtors license? 


2. The Commerce Dept regulates our licenses and enforces the Rules of Real Estate. 

Click here for instructions for licensing

Click here for continuing education requirements

3. There are several options for schooling. We recommend doing classes in house but online is an option also:


Kaplan RE has 2 locations and is my recommended school. Click here for more info on Kaplan

MN Realty School is another option.
Click here for more info on MN Realty School

Continuing Ed Express is an online only option. Click here for more info on Continuing Ed Express

Real Estate Express is an online option only also. Click here for more info on Real Estate Express

4. Real Estate Salespersons schooling is a series of 3 courses of 30 hours each. After course 1 you have to take your test. It is recommended you also take the test prep class to help you study for the test. You cannot take Course 2 or 3 until you pass the test. Here is the site to take your test. It is $65 for National and State tests:

Click here for info on taking the RE Salespersons Test

5. You have to apply to one of the local Real Estate Boards to be granted access to MLS. We recommend MAAR (Mpls Area Association of Realtors). The St Paul Area Association of Realtors is another option. 

Click here for info on MAAR

Click here for more info on SPAAR


Picking the right Broker is the most important decision you will make

You have many choices on which brokerage do you choose to hold your license. In MN, a listing and/or buyers contract is between the client and the broker. You are an authorized agent who works on behalf of the broker. You should interview the broker such as the broker interviews you. Making the wrong choice in brokers can save you or cost you thousands of dollars. More importantly it can speed up or severely derail your progression toward financial freedom and a running a successful, profitable Real Estate business. 

Brokerages come in all shapes and sizes. Small Mom and Pop brokers may offer very attractive splits but chances are you will be on your own for websites, marketing materials, contact management systems, training, compliance, transaction coordinating, etc. Larger companies offer alot of these systems and features but your split to the Broker is considerably higher. The old adage rings true,"You get what you pay for"!

Some questions you should be asking a potential Broker:

  • What is the split? Does it cap?
  • What does the brokerage offer individual agents for a website? Is the website customizable? Does the brokerage offer a CRM? Does the CRM have campaign templates? Does the brokerage offer Apps? What other technology tools the brokerage offer? What do the tech tools cost?
  • What is the average monthly agent cost to have the Broker hold your license? 
  • Ask for examples of a listing market analysis, product brochures, buyer presentations. Are the customizable?
  • How much and who does the Broker recommend for For Sale signs, lockboxes, directional arrows, and Open House signs. 
  • What does the training look like? Who puts on the training? What is the cost?
  • Does the Broker offer coaching, accountability, business planning?
  • What is the average annual transactions per agent at the office?

Once you complete your investigation of potential brokers, from all of us at Realty ONE Group Choice, we would love the opportunity to have you interview us and us you. We do not open our doors up to just anyone. We are looking for the type of agents who will make our company a better company once you join us. We are looking for agents who are willing to give back to the community. Agents who aspire for success and are willing to put forth the effort needed to get there. We love holding events and expect our agents to be in attendance and in the front row contributing. 

In exchange for your commitment and dedication you will find a brokerage who is there on the front line with you and we have your back. We offer coaching, planning and accountability as much as you need and want. We offer training in all areas of Real Estate yet train outside of RE in areas like Excel, Google Docs, Financial Planning, etc. 


Take a look at these videos to learn more about Realty ONE Group Choice and our parent Company, Realty ONE Group. If you would like to learn more and set an appointment to come see the newest, coolest RE office in the Twin Cities, fill out the "Request More Info" section below. We look forward to hearing from you why you chose to get your RE license. 

All About Realty ONE Group Choice


See all about Realty ONE Group the "unbrokerage"



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The data relating to real estate for sale on this web site comes in part from the Broker ReciprocitySM Program of the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc. Real Estate listings held by brokerage firms other than are marked with the Broker ReciprocitySM logo or the Broker ReciprocitySM thumbnail logo (a little black house) and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing brokers.” Listing broker has attempted to offer accurate data, but buyers are advised to confirm all items.” Copyright2019Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc. All rights reserved. Data last updated April 24, 2019
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